How Maybelline’s ‘Under the Avatar’ Is Encouraging Gamers to Call Out Harassment When They’re Playing Online

In the fast-paced world of online gaming, where virtual worlds collide with real emotions, the issue of harassment towards female gamers persists as a grim reality. Despite efforts by the gaming industry to implement safeguards, the statistics remain alarming.

A recent study commissioned by global beauty giant, Maybelline New York, reveals that a staggering 76% of female gamers have encountered or witnessed harassment or offensive behaviour while gaming. Equally concerning is the fact that 71% of male gamers choose to turn a blind eye to such abuse when they witness it.

Maybelline is stepping up to address this issue with its latest initiative — ‘Under the Avatar’. This emotion-provoking video sheds light on the distressing verbal abuse experienced by two female gamers during a multiplayer session.

What makes the video particularly poignant is the portrayal of their friends’ reactions, who are depicted as bystanders unsure of how to intervene. It serves as a stark reminder that behind every avatar is a real person, vulnerable to the toxic behaviour prevalent in gaming communities.

Maybelline’s commitment to empowering gamers began in 2023 with the acclaimed ‘Through Their Eyes’ campaign, shedding light on the pervasive practice of female gamers concealing their identities to evade harassment. This year, the brand wants to equip gamers with the tools to combat toxic behaviour head-on.

A crucial aspect of this year’s initiative is the emphasis on empowering bystanders. Research indicates that 59% of female gamers opt to leave a game when faced with offensive or discriminatory behaviour. Maybelline’s partnership with ReachOut and Youthline (NZ) aims to change this narrative by providing players with actionable steps to combat toxicity within gaming communities.


While fostering empathy for victims of online abuse, the campaign also seeks to challenge the notion that such behaviour is acceptable. They plan to do this by arming individuals with the tools to stand up against harassment, ultimately pushing for a cultural shift within gaming communities.

As part of the initiative, Maybelline is also set to partner with Youthline on the ‘International Day of Happiness’ — which is on March 20. On the day, Counsellors from Youthline will be live streaming on Twitch alongside prominent female gamers — Nalopia, Aliythia, Berticuss, Develique and Qrissy. Through engaging gameplay and insightful discussions, the streams aim to empower gamers to combat online harassment and create a more supportive gaming environment.

By encouraging gamers to speak out against harassment and support one another, Maybelline New York is paving the way for a more equitable and enjoyable gaming experience for all.

Learn more about this initiative and find out where to watch the livestreams on March 20, here.

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